I don't know exactly when Blogger put in the ability to view stats, but sometime during the eight years I've been a'bloggin', they slipped it in. Right under my nose. I've just discovered it, and now I stare at it obsessively, interpreting the data like a political pundit with 1% of the votes in and hours of air time to fill.
I'm sure everyone with a blog has experienced the same thing. The one post that turns out to be wildly popular, even though it's hardly the best thing you've ever written. The post that the search engine spiders suddenly haul out of the depths because it's relevant to some current event. The post that's only a few sentences long, several years old, and not interesting in the slightest - like, "I was not posting last week, but now I am posting" - that for some inexplicable reason gets a ridiculous number of hits day after day. My third most popular post is like this, a complete non-event. I can't for the life of me figure out what keeps drawing people to it.
But my favorite thing about stats is the "audience" feature. I've discovered I can play great games of international manipulation just by using certain terms. Say "Oxbridge," and WHAM...Suddenly I get hits from Britain. My recent digressions about Prague gave me a healthy Russian readership. When I mentioned the city of Weed, the Netherlands appeared on my map. Heh.
This seems like a fine challenge. Can I snag a specific country just by using a subtle reference? Bag it as easily as Shelly Russell slipped past Yogita Bali to help secure a trip to the London Games?
Erk, no. This is not an easy game to play. Dropping in references to South African field hockey doesn't come naturally. And I suppose I can't grab the attention of the search spiders just by yelling Nelson Mandela! Amandla! Oudtshoorn Ostrich Ballet!There should be a question mark somewhere in this sentence! Shouldn't there? That was a poorly-constructed rhetorical question, and also a poor grab to make South Africa appear on my map.
But I CAN legitimately talk about South Africa by saying that I, now, in the year 2012, have at last discovered streaming internet radio. Holy cow! Did you know that many radio stations worldwide stream their content for free online??? Also, they're making talkies in color now!
As soon as I found this out I immediately went on an online tour of international stations I have known and loved. One of the first I looked for was SAFM, a station out of Johannesburg, South Africa. Merrily to their website did I frolic, thinking I that there I would find a big "Listen" button that would instantly transport me back to the vast Antarctic-breeze-kissed reaches of the veld.
Instead I found a handy "pick a radio station!" bar. SAFM's parent company evidently owns every radio station in South Africa, possibly the entire continent.
This screen grab probably fails to capture my actual feelings of confusion and betrayal and dismay.
But I finally found it (because it's listed in big letters) got it streaming. I hoped I might be just in time to catch my favorite South African radio program, The Tim Modise Show. When I lived in SA I used to start my day with this show, munching on apples and ostrich biltong while Tim Modise's cheerful voice welcomed questions from callers and instructed everyone to proudly buy South African. Because I was in such a remote area, he became the voice of the country to me. I couldn't wait to hear him again.
When I didn't hear The Tim Modise Show on the stream, I went searching for it. That's when I learned that it had only ever aired for two years, right during the time I lived in SA.
Even worse, I can hardly find a reference to the show, let alone an audio clip of it. So my legitimate grab for SA readers is, if anyone knows where an online copy of the show exists, please let me know! And if you do I'll say "thank you" in all of South Africa's eleven national languages:
Ke a leboha (Sotho)
Ke itumtese (Setswana)
Ndi a livhuha (Venda)
Ke a leboga (also Setswana??)
Ro livhuawa (also Venda??? uh-oh…)
Clearly I also need help saying "thank you."